×

Locarno: Casa Wabi, Mantarraya Launch Film Prize

First award to be given at Locarno this Saturday

LOCARNO, Switzerland — Mexico’s Mantarraya Group, producer of Cannes Best Director winners Carlos Reygadas (2012’s “Post Tenebras Lux”) and Amat Escalante (2013’s “Heli”), is establishing another festival presence in Europe, teaming with art foundation Fundación Casa Wabi to adjudicate a new prize at the Locarno Festival’s newly competitive Signs of Life section.

Opening this year with the world premiere of Disney’s “Coco,” the Morelia Intl. Film Festival will also support the Fundación Casa Wabi-Mantarraya Award, which will be adjudicated Aug. 12 at Locarno’s prize ceremony.

The prize is a meeting of like-minds. Launched in 2013, and borrowing the title of Werner Herzog’s first feature, Signs of Life set outs out to explore cinema’s frontier territories through “novel narrative formats and innovation in filmic language,” the Locarno Festival’s website explains.

This year’s 11 feature lineup includes Nelson Carlo de los Santos Luxbox-sold “Cocote,” set against a background of Los Misterios, a syncretic mix of West African beliefs and Christianity in Santo Domingo; Brazilian Adirley Queiros’ “Once There Was Brazil,” a (typical for the director) political thriller come sci-fi mockumentary; and “The Dead Nation,” a well-reviewed doc-feature from regarded Romanian director Radu Jude. These film can be anti-establishment, politically worrisome – Jude’s film returns to Romanians’ persecution of Jews in the 1940s, swept under a carpet, and how images do not illustrate but obfuscate reality – and formally adventurous. That’s in line with the film of Reygadas and Escalante whose last, Venice Best Director winning “The Untamed,” set out to explain modern Mexico via sci-fi monster movie parable.

Casa Wabi, meanwhile, is an artists residence set on the Oaxaca Pacific coast, a multi-ethnic region is lower Mexico. The Award Fundación Casa Wabi-Mantarraya consists in an up-to-three month residency there, designed to promote both “multidisciplinary encounters” and “introspection” for artists who are expected to contribute to the promotion and development of the local Oaxaca communities, in one of Mexico’s most multi-ethnic states. The winning director will be chosen on the basis of “artistic qualities that explore the seventh art in cutting-edge ways and whose work relates to social commitment,” Fundación Casa Wabi and Mantarraya said in a joint statement. Artists in residence include a strong mix of U.S. (Korean-American conceptual artists Michael Joo, for instance), and Mexican (Diego Quemada-Diez, director of “La Jaula de Oro”)  artists. Tapping into Signs of Life will help spread the Fundación’s net wider.

The Fundación Casa Wabi-Mantarraya Award will be presented on Aug. 12 by José Luis Mejía Razo, managing director at ND Mantarraya, the distribution joint venture between Mantarraya and Reygadas’ Nodream Cinema and an ex Locarno Academy International-Morelia alum. Signs of Life already sports one prize, a 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,200) grant from Zurich’s electronic-art.foundation.

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born

    The Message of the Oscar Nominations: You'd Better Have a Social Message

    Each year at the Left Coast crack of dawn, when the Oscar nominations are announced, there’s generally at least one major nomination many pundits were predicting that fails to materialize. When that happens, entertainment media tends to rise up as one and say the s-word: snub. In truth, it’s not usually a snub; it’s just [...]

  • Elton John and Mark Ronson

    Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark Ronson: 'You're Going to Win the Oscar'

    Elton John is willing to bet that Mark Ronson will win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” The nominations were announced this morning. The legendary performer spoke to Ronson on the latest episode of his radio show “Elton John’s Rocket Hour” on Apple Music’s Beats 1.  “You’re having a [...]

  • Olivia Colman Colin Firth Helen Mirren

    Playing a British Monarch Is a Step on the Road to Oscar Glory - Again

    “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” Shakespeare wrote of Britain’s care-burdened monarchs. Try telling that to the Academy. Once again, playing British royalty has proved to be a tried-and-true route to Oscar glory, with Olivia Colman as the latest actor to be nominated for an Academy Award for portraying an occupant of the British [...]

  • Black Panther Movie

    Oscars: 'Black Panther' Leads Best Picture Nominees to Near-Record Box Office Grosses

    This year’s Academy Award nominees proved the Oscars don’t need a popular film category to recognize movies with huge box office grosses. The 2019 crop of best picture hopefuls have generated an impressive $1.26 billion so far in North America alone. That bounty is led by “Black Panther,” which earned a sensational $700 million at [...]

  • oscar nominations 2019 stream online

    How to Watch This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Films

    The 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced, and if you want to catch up on the nominees, we’ve rounded up some easy ways to watch or stream the original films, documentaries, and songs competing for an award. Period comedy “The Favourite” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” lead the pack with 10 nominations apiece, while “Green Book” [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Makes History for Poland

    Alfonso Cuaron might’ve tied an Oscar record with four nods to his name for “Roma,” which scored 10 nominations overall. But another black-and-white film in a foreign language, Pawel Pawlikowski’s jazz-infused romantic drama “Cold War,” was honored with three Academy Award nominations Tuesday, the most in history for a primarily Polish-backed production. The film will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content